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Campus Connection: Champlain College - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Campus Connection: Champlain College

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Oregon native Lauren Stevens enrolled at Champlain College sight unseen.

"The first time I was here was for orientation weekend," Stevens said.

Sophomore Julia Haass is originally from Germany and first got hooked online.

"We have a virtual tour that I could take and they have videos about the school and they have blogs, I could read about students, about staff about studying abroad," Haass said.

It's part of a high-tech transformation in how the Burlington college is recruiting kids.

"We've really changed how we reach out to students in social media," said Sarah Boston Andriano, the admissions director at Champlain.

Andriano says the effort is paying off. Between 2011 and 2012, student applications at Champlain jumped 70 percent from 2,600 to 4,400.

"It's an exciting time for our office and for the college," she said.

Andriano and her team are using websites like Zinch and College Week Live that allow schools to interact instantly with potential students in a "virtual college fair," rather than waiting for them to come to campus. If things progress, Skype is becoming a logical next step.

"I know last week we had two students from China interview over Skype," Andriano said. "If a student from California can't make it to campus, we might do an interview over Skype."

The technology is also allowing Champlain's eight-person admissions team to track online visits and specific interests from students. Counselors are then able to reach out to applicants with information targeted toward the individual.

"We still keep it a really personal, one-on-one counseling experience in the admissions process even though it is social media and through the web," Andriano said.

Students say the fresh approach is paying off on campus.

"Everybody's background is different, everybody's history is a little different and you see that in their writing pieces or like in my human rights class people have different opinions because they're not all coming from the same place," Stevens said.

And Andriano is hopeful they'll lead to another strong year.

"I am confident to say that we will have another record-breaking year for our applicant pool," she said.

Champlain is still awaiting application totals for this year.

Champlain says it is still making a number of school visits in Vermont and across the country. It also has a representative right now India for two weeks recruiting students.

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